Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is to urgently review its £14m digital records system after dozens of consultants wrote to the trust medical director expressing concerns about the system and its impact on patient safety.
Consultants at the trust have raised patient safety concerns around the difficulty of accessing electronic patient records and some records missing key data, including information on appointments.
The trust medical director said that the digital clinical records software did not meet the needs of consultants. The problems were discussed by the trust board in September which is now reviewing monthly.
Dr Keith Girling, trust medical director, said the introduction of the DHR system had caused “much more disruption to patients, clinicians and services” than anticipated.
Nottingham, the third biggest trust in the country, is working on a best of breed digital health records programme, begun two years ago, that includes a major scanning and document management project, involving spending £5.8m on scanning 57 million documents, plus £5.9m was spent on the deployment of the DHR and £2.7m on hardware and software.
Dr Girling said in a statement: “Some features are an improvement on paper records, including instant access to records for urgent and emergency care, but there are several impactful weaknesses which are causing consultant colleagues very significant inconvenience and frustration.”
A trust spokesperson told Digital Health News the concerns centred on the trust’s Fortrus document management system.
Dr Girling said the records software does not meet the needs of consultants: “It is clear that the current product does not meet the needs of consultants and is adding to the time and complexity of patient reviews.”
He added: “Some features are an improvement on paper records, including instant access to records for urgent and emergency care, but there are several impactful weaknesses which are causing consultant colleagues very significant inconvenience and frustration.
A trust spokesperson told Digital Health News that the review had been triggered after a group of consultants wrote to Dr Girling expressing their frustrations with the system. “Staff said that they wanted records scanned in rather than entering data directly, but there is some real unhappiness with how the system is working.”
The trust statement said: “Related ICT products that work alongside this system are mitigating patient safety risks. Monthly updates on DHR and progress will be received by the trust’s quality assurance committee from October.”
Dr Girling said the trust will seek feedback from clinicians when redesigning the system.
“We will be acting on this feedback to ensure that, with our suppliers, we can design a system that better meets clinical need and improves care and safety for our patients.”
The spokesperson told Digital health that problems had been bubbling away for a number of months.